Toyota Australia’s campaign against counterfeit brake pads resulted in an online supplier recalling the parts that were falsely advertised as genuine Toyota products.
The fakes were found to contain asbestos, a cancer-causing substance banned from use in brake pads sold in Australia since 2003.
Toyota says in a statement the recall involves counterfeit brake pads sold by online supplier Westend Spares between June 2013 and October 2015.
It is not known how many parts were sold, but Toyota says the counterfeit brake pads are suitable for use on its Toyota HiLux and HiAce vehicles.
Westend Spares has contacted all affected customers to provide a full refund for the counterfeit brake pads. It also will ask consumers to immediately dispose of the brake pads or send them back to the supplier to be destroyed.
Toyota Australia Corporate Manager Wayne Gabriel says he was shocked to find an Australian supplier selling counterfeit brake pads containing asbestos.
“Not only have Toyota customers unwittingly bought counterfeit brake pads, but their safety has been put at serious risk,” Gabriel says in a statement. “We are pleased with the supplier’s swift action and we will continue our ongoing work to stamp out counterfeit parts that put customers’ safety at risk.”
Gabriel says customers who have their vehicle serviced and repaired only by authorized Toyota dealers are not at risk of having counterfeit parts fitted to their vehicle.
He says the supplier selling the fake brake pads is believed to be selling other counterfeit parts including spiral cables, water pumps and wheel bearings and Toyota Australia is working with the supplier and hoping to resolve the matter in the coming weeks.
Earlier this year, Toyota Australia lodged Federal Court proceedings against two independent retailers selling counterfeit airbag spiral cables and advertising them as genuine Toyota parts. The complaint, after a 6-month investigation, involved trademark infringement and misleading and deceptive conduct.
“It is our expectation that the independent retailers will contact the impacted customers to advise them that they have purchased counterfeit parts and replace the airbag spiral cable with a genuine Toyota part at no cost to the customer,” Toyota said at the time.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries welcomes Toyota’s campaign against counterfeit parts.
“Toyota’s actions confirm the only way motorists can be sure their vehicle drives, functions and protects them in exactly the way its maker intended is to use genuine parts,” FCAI CEO Tony Weber says in a statement. “This incident helps illustrate the scale of the counterfeit parts issue.”